Why Are So Many Military Families on Food Stamps?

May 9, 2012 By
Posted in Military Life, Military News, Opinion, Spouse and Family

Today was the launch of the 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, from Blue Star Families (you can download the survey here.) I found a lot of the information presented interesting, but there was one thing in particular that caught my eye: the number of military families on food stamps has tripled in the last year.

I suspect there will be a few factors blamed for this: poor military pay, and spouses who have trouble finding a job (an issue also presented in the survey). But is that really the issue at play here?

The fact that military spouses struggle with finding employment has been getting a lot of play recently, and for good reason. You marry into the military, and that can have a huge effect on your career. A lot of employers understandably are wary of hiring military spouses, because they know that the employee they just hired very well could end up leaving with very little notice for any number of reasons. This life is unpredictable, and unpredictable doesn’t always mesh well with a long-term career.

In any case, let’s say that the spouse does have a job, one that pays well. The family is used to that extra paycheck, and they live comfortably. But then, they find out they have to PCS, and bam — bye bye, extra paycheck. Now the spouse can’t find a job at their new duty station in the same field or with the same decent paycheck, and suddenly, the family is struggling. It’s a very plausible scenario.

While I have absolutely no doubt that the above scenario does happen, I would be willing to bet that there’s a much simpler culprit at hand when it comes to reasons for military families needing financial assistance: lack of budgeting.

I know that we don’t make a lot of money as a military family. But let’s be honest: it’s not that bad. No, we will never be rich. But we have enough to get by. Most military families probably do, if they’re willing to live within their means. But do they?

There’s almost an ongoing joke about not buying cars at the car dealerships here, and making sure to drive the hour or so to another town. The reason is because the dealerships here will take you for all you’ve got. And why do they do that? Because they know they can. There are always Marines who just got a reenlistment bonus, or just got back from deployment, ready to drop a ton of cash on a nice, new car.

The point of that example is that, from what I see, a lot of people don’t live within their means. I’d be extremely curious to know, for example, how many of those families on food stamps also have cable, internet, and smart phones. How many of them bought a new car (or two) within the past year? How often do they go out to eat? Those kinds of expenses can drain a lot of money out of your paycheck, and it makes it easy for people to feel like they don’t have enough money to get by. After all, we’re used to that lifestyle in America. Just about everyone has a TV, cable, internet, decent cars, cell phones, etc. That includes military families as well. (And don’t get me started on how many Coach purses I see walking around Camp Lejeune.)

And while the argument isn’t that military families shouldn’t have those things (we certainly have all of them), it does make me think that the deeper issue here is not a lack of money available for bills and necessities, but poor budgeting and a lack of financial awareness. I also think that when you add in extremely young spouses, that problem is even more likely. Think about it — how savvy were you with your money when you were 20 years old? Learning to be strict with your money, and to budget carefully each month, isn’t always easy and it doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

Would this explain everyone on food stamps in the military? Of course not, and I am sure there are plenty of people on food stamps who genuinely have some kind of extenuating circumstances that are beyond their control. But I also do strongly believe that financial mismanagement is common in the military, and that would explain a lot of the people using food stamps, as well. After all, service members are given allowances for both food and housing, in addition to their base pay. Theoretically, it shouldn’t be an issue, but it is.

What would help solve this problem? Giving families the tools to better manage their money through budgeting classes and financial assistance would probably be a huge help. The problem is, those resources already exist. The issue is that military families don’t take advantage of them, probably because a lot of them don’t know that they exist. So to me, the question becomes, how do we better inform our families of the resources available to help them become more financially knowledgeable, so they can learn to budget properly and manage their money well?

I would be willing to bet that if the military was able to find a magic way to do that, the number of families on food stamps would dwindle.

Photo courtesy NCReedplayer

39 Responses to Why Are So Many Military Families on Food Stamps?

  1. Part of the problem, too, is that while military pay has NOT gone up much, FOOD PRICES HAVE!
    Bread in our Commissary has gone up 8 cents in the past two months…which isn’t a lot, HOWEVER it IS an 8% increase. And bread isn’t the only thing, either! It’s all going up.

    Part of OUR problem at home is that we are eating healthier. Healthy food costs more! Vegetables and fruits cost more than snack food. Fresh costs more than canned or boxed (sodium is an issue in our house).

    Budgeting is not always the problem…although a vast majority of our Families could use a class, or two. This time, it might also actually BE the prices. Gas prices aren’t coming down much, either…
    …just sayin’…

    • I believe that eligibility for food stamps is computed mathematically, based on income, cost of living and number of persons in a family. What does that have to do with wise budgeting? Either you qualify for food stamps, or you don’t. Attacking your fellow military members and their spouses as bad managers will not raise their incomes or lower the cost of food.

  2. I posted this on your Facebook posting but I wanted to post it here, as well, for everyone to see:

    That piece was excellent because it illustrates a problem that Americans in this generation in general have and that’s a complete inability to budget and live within their means. To make it worse, the government has relaxed its standards for receiving SNAP benefits so you’re seeing increases across the board of people taking advantage of it. The Obama administration is continuing to send the same message that the Bush Administration sent which is to keep spending, even if you don’t have the money.

    In 2005, Americans officially spent more money than they made and now, not only does this Administration tell us to go ahead and keep spending, they are also telling us not to worry because the government will subsidize your spending. The increase in food stamps has nothing to do with an increase in poverty but everything to do with a concerted effort by the Federal Government to make Americans as dependent on them as possible and unfortunately, we’re all signing up for the dependency.

    It’s very difficult for people to resist the allure of what appears to be free money.

  3. We are a family of 5 on an E4 pay grade, and I have seen families with only one or 2 children in the same pay grade needing assistance. We do, of course, QUALIFY for Food Stamps, but we do not use them at this time. We do, however, participate in the WIC program. We are very careful with our budget, but I also choose to stay home and homeschool our children. I do think it should be considered that even those of us that live within our means still technically QUALIFY for these programs based on the income range set forth, though we do have a choice whether or not to use it. Something that has come up for our family, personally, is that all 3 of our children have special needs that benefit from therapy (and a special diet, which is why we have chosen to at least recieve WIC because, as mentioned, healthy foods cost more)- therapy Tricare doesn’t cover unless their PCM gives them a very specific diagnosis with a label of being “severe.” Our children are considered “moderate,” so although they are still recommended to recieve therapy we have to choose to pay out of pocket (which is impossible on that salary regardless of how well we budget) or accept government help. In that case I’m not going to put my children at risk of not being able to receive help they NEED, so the choice is made for us. I believe those are the type of circumstances to which you’re referring, though!

    I do often see others making the same amount as us with less children struggling because they have new cars, cable with DVR, etc. In those situations, I admit it’s kind of irritating to hear complaints because I think the answer is obvious there are unnecessary luxuries that can definitely be minimized to save money, and there are many resources available to us to help!

  4. Scott (Retired Navy)

    What I’m curious about and I don’t see addressed is if we in the military have more children than others. That is a huge financial responsiblity. Tie that in with inflation and the need for instant gratification mentioned above, and it’s easy for a young family to be in over their head.

  5. It all comes down to class warfare. People still wan’t to criticize those who are serving our country. Children of military
    service members are supposed to go through the stress of having a parent who might not come back with little support. Don’t you think that supporting military families it is the least that we can do.

  6. Where do I start !?? E 4 /familily of 5 Geesh! What made you think of Having 3 kids ? Military pay is graduated byLevels E1-E9 ,Yes!. you get extra for being Married But! where is your Responsibility to each Child ? Someone Didnt do a Good Job in explaining familily life in the Service . I know! Recruiters Lied !NO! research was not done on the Varibels of How much we get,Where to live !How many Children can we afford, New car or Used . BUDGET items . Extra Job , Live comfortable !!! Wrong Expectations spells Trouble .Just for Kicks ! A, E 5 ,with over 2yrs ,in1959 was making $180.00 a Month,if you had flight Skins ,$50 more . Thats a Single person. Married maybe $150.00 more . Ah! yes ! things were Cheaper ,Gas 23cents a gallon, milk 12 Cts .But over 3/4 of the Enlisted in the Whole Navy, Didnt own a Car Couldnt afford one ,Hitched hiked every where (including Families)Most E6/7 had used cars . There was no safety Net including Food stamps . OH! they used to get paid Extra ,for every other Child. Which Started to Produce Base Ball teams . Back in the 60s ,the Pay rates went up so much that the sailors called themseves ,Rich!! First thing to Buy was a Brand New Car, and other electronic gadgets and eventully over spent! lots of Capts Masts for Non Payment ! Carreers Gone ! So when the Decission to have (Yes! Decission ) More Children than your Pay will allow for. The Children Bear the Brunt ( Not talking about Twins or Trips ) Stress and lots of Arguements ,because of Needs of the Govt NO ! one in Civillian Life gets extra Pay for a Wife or Children. They Live on their Pay from one job, or three ! Yes ! its hard times and the Military is filled with Uncertainty. Needs of the Navy plays a Big Role In todays World . Every Sailor I see come out of Oceana ,has a New Car and is not paying Property Tax that the Civillians Do ,They also dont get all the free concerts ,10% off at most stores 30 day vacations (1 yr off with pay every 12 yrs of service ) and pay raises ,every yr Yeah! Affortable Heath Care.Lots of other goodies . Yes ! its dangerous ! Police and Firefighters feel that too! Im not taking anything away from Sailors ,only putting it in Prepective. . How do I know all this ? Spent 4 yrs USN (E 5 ) and 37 yrs a SelRes . Retired a Chief

    • Exactly what I was thinking!! Why the eff do you have so many kids knowing you’re only going to get so much money to support them. Me and my husband are both active duty Navy and we have one kid. We are comfortable and content with that and I’m appalled at how many people tell me to get out and have more kids! Equally appalling is how many times I’ve been encouraged to apply for Wic or food stamps. I understand how rough it can be for some people, but why make things rougher by having more children assuming the government will take care of you? The only person who can take care of you is you.

      • Hubby is an e-4. We live comfortably off his salary with one baby. We would go in debt with two kids. People are stupid and think another kid will save their marriage… It doesn’t.

  7. Lesa Ketron !!
    I feel your Pain ,But I cant reach you ! Sardistic I Know !
    You and only you Chose this type of Life ! if your the Spouse! Children ! yes ! its Tough ! that in reallity, is the luck of the draw with Parents ! Blame them not us ! What do you expect from a Combat Organization ! We train to kill the Enemy of our Country ,not go to College . Firefighters/police /truck Drivers, Never know when their lites will go out ! Your Not alone ! Class Warfare is a Joke ! not part of the Equasion The families in the Military ,are loaded with surport activities . You are miss informed of what you have available to you. There are always be people against anything . Thats life ! Stand up Smartly . Your family is part of only 5% of this Country that has decided to Protect our way of life, by putting it on the Front Burner. Smile youll be a Better person for it ! Be Proud !!

  8. I loved this article. It is so true, and I have seen this all with my own eyes. However, I don’t completely agree to the comment that the families are unaware of the resources available. I believe that most do know what is available, but they choose not to use them because they don’t want to admit that they are spending their money the wrong way. They don’t want to give up the good but unnecessary things that they have and enjoy when they have the option to get free food from some other source. Plus, there’s also the fact that not too many people want someone telling them how they should be spending their money, even if the person giving the budgeting class is correct. People don’t care about that. They care about what they want, and as long as food stamps and other forms of assistance are easily available, they’ll continue to spend their money irresponsibly.

    • Food stamps is not about how you spend your money idiot it’s wether you make a low enough income per household they don’t care where your money goes just what you make and number of people! And many people don’t know about benefits by design of the government. You people slamming and judging need to go somewhere! Your taxes go for food stamps, people doing nothing but slinging dope, living in the projects, prostituting living high on the hog using every benefit the bleeding heart democrats offer to those who don’t do a damn thing live of the sweat of our, your and those who lost their lives backs thinking nothing of it but that they are entitled! If anyone in uniform needs it they pay for it they should get it and anyone who questions that or makes them some they aren’t should be tried for treason!

  9. I don't want to be judge so call me "Ann"

    I’m surprised people are even able to get on food stamps? My husband is in the army and is at the E3 rank. We have three children. I used to have a job and life was fine then but because of my health issues in the past year I can no longer work. In fact I have continued to try and I was “let go” from two jobs because my issue is with my eyes and I could not preform the job duties well enough. I want to work so bad it isn’t even funny so please do not berate me for not being able to.
    We applied for food stamps and were denied because my husband’s paycheck brought in $15.00 dollars too much for us to qualify. Fifteen! Really? Anyway, I get that too many people think things are necessities when they are not. We only applied after we had cut down our lifestyle. We own one car and only drive it for buying groceries or my husband to go to work. My husband has an older cell phone(given to him from a family member who upgraded) and is on a family plan with his family to save money. If we could get rid of it we would but his job needs him to have one. I do not have a phone. I plan and cook/bake everything. I spend 200.00 every 2 weeks to feed a family of five. Our only luxury is a cheap internet connection because we chose to. If an emergency came up it would be the first thing to go, no second thoughts. We really struggle but are happy.

    We don’t need the extras others consider to be necessity but it would be nice to know that I don’t have to stay up worrying myself sick at night when something comes up and I have to figure out where to pull it from. It would also be nice to not have to worry about not having enough to eat or having to struggle to buy fresh produce. I just don’t understand how the hell these people are on welfare when the ones who could use it can’t even get on it. This absolutely blows my mind.

  10. We’re a family of 7 on E-3 pay. We had four kids prior to him joining up and another when overseas. We have two completely paid off vehicles (not new but not too old, either). We have cable TV and Internet, one smartish phone one regular cell phone. We budget like crazy and don’t go without. I don’t understand where others struggle. I don’t consider ourselves lucky, just money smart. We both had great civilian jobs for years before a sense of duty and patriotism had him joining up. Yes… it was a drastic pay cut but its the price we were willing to pay as our family did its duty to our country.

  11. This is very true! Military families are NOT poor. Never rich, but John and I are well off -at least enough so that we have never had less than $20 in our account (except when we had to pay that unexpected $400 out of pocket to send John to Afghanistan -go figure. But hey, we HAD it and did not go in the hole!). And yes, we have two kids to feed and care for, but there IS ENOUGH to provide for the family. We just don’t order pizza every night or buy a TON of snacks (who needs the extra calories, anyway? lol). With proper budgeting, we can even afford the occasional weekend trip or date nights (although our date night fund has never been used because finding someone willing to watch your kids even though you’ve watched theirs a ton of times is a WHOLE ‘nother ballgame! :P) May I suggest the envelope system backed up by an emergency fund?

  12. And yeah, we’re e3 and I don’t make more than $10 a month from my books I write, if that (even though they are selling well). lol

  13. I think the problem lies in the people who don’t actually ‘need’ it, but get it just because they ‘qualify.’ If you truly need the assistance, that’s fine, but if you’re walking around in designer clothes, carrying a designer bag, texting on an iPhone, with perfectly cut hair and freshly manicured nails, and you pull out your welfare EBT card to pay for groceries, the cashier should be legally allowed to slap you.

    That being said, my husband and I were dual-military until I separated in 2009, meaning our income was cut by more than half when I did. We also went overseas shortly after I separated and I was planning on getting a civilian job once we got here, but our location ended up meaning I couldn’t find a job that would make using the CDC worth it, so instead, I’m a SAHM that’s getting my MBA so I can get a job (hopefully) once we get back to the States. But if I can’t, we’ll survive. I’m using my GI Bill, so we don’t have to worry about paying for the degree, so even if I can’t use it, I’ll still have it.

    Now, we live within our means, but we also live fairly well. We don’t go without things we want (within reason; we don’t buy a new car every year (our current car is 6 years old), but we collectively love our electronic devices), we spoil our child rotten (yep, only one, we figured out what caused them and got that fixed), we still put a ton of money in the bank (savings, an IRA, TSP, 529), and we have NO DEBT (outside of the occasional online purchase that is put on a credit card to cover us until it arrives, and then it’s paid off).

    It’s about being responsible with your money, not buying things to keep up with the neighbors (yes, everyone knows what everyone makes, but you never know when someone has rich parents who are footing the bill, a spouse that has an amazing job, or just came into an inheritance). We’ve never even considered applying for any form of assistance, even though we would have probably qualified once I separated. We never needed to, and believe that assistance should be there for those people who honestly need it.

    Also, my husband is an E5, so if you’re thinking ‘Officer Wife,’ you’d be wrong.

    • No not officer wife but cola doesn’t hurt at all been there done that! Spare me! About the manicure etc you just described all the people in the projects laying up under men, drinking their 40 oz at 10 am having the future criminals getting a free ride on our back!
      WHY DOES THIS SITE EXHIST? Do you people hear yourselves? You are insulting in the worst way those men and women who may have your spouses life in their hands fighting beside them. Just stop you all make me sick except the obvious true patriots. I will admit there are some bad apple in the military but they can be single or not on food stamps and you’re ready to join the civilians that don’t know anything at all and bash our service members! There is a very special place in hell for people like you

  14. Where to start. One how many of you here have gone and risked your life over seas for this country? I love just making it by every month after I have risked my life in two different theaters of combat. That is what I love just barely scraping by even with the best budgeting plan there is I still barely make it. Before anyone comments and says well joining was your choice, yes it was, it was also made even easier because of how many American men do not join. So if anyone here has a problem with Military members getting a little bit of help from the very country they fought for well maybe you should pack your stuff and move. Also if it is so easy to get food stamps then why do I scrape by month after month with a wife and two kids, cause I dont rate them I am not even A high ranking Marine. Thats just a little something to chew on. Do not email me back because frankly I do not care what you have to say. Cpl Green

  15. Another issue that has yet to be addressed is how drastically the price of gas has gone up in the last several years! A SrA’s gas budget today will not go as far as a it did 5 yrs ago. And please don’t tell me that they should live on base, because we all know that housing doesn’t work that way – it’s a total crap shoot if you’ll get base housing or not. At our last base the wait list was over 2 yrs long and the base was approximately 25 miles from town, where we lived and I worked and our children went to school – and we lived there for just shy of 3 yrs. So my husband was driving 250 miles or more a week, just to get to work. He is an NCO so it’s not so bad for us but I was very glad as gas prices jumped over $3 this year that we had PCS’d and were fortunate enough to get base housing at our new base! I am also a spouse struggling to find a job at a new base, which unfortunately dropped our income by roughly $1000/mo. We have no cable, a basic internet plan and cell phones for long distance. Our only debt is one small cc for emergencies, braces for the pre-teen, our cars and my student loans – nothing terribly extravagant. But yet no matter how well you budget, ‘little things’ always come up – an emergency trip home, a car that needs fixed, etc. And even with the best of savings, that can literally be wiped out in a matter of a phone call and take months to replenish. I think many of the problems military families face, ALL families face right now.

    Between gas prices and food prices going up, it is harder and harder for families to budget well and the same basic necessities cost more. I shop for my family of 5 at the commissary, coupon (not extreme), and watch for sales at the various off base grocery stores. I spend roughly $200/pay period on groceries plus a bit more if we happen to run out of milk or fresh veggies. And I know my $200 budget does NOT go as far as it used to – and I shop the same way – generic/store brands, as much fresh as possible, and meal plan for about 2 wks at a time.

    (Oh and to the person that says you get paid more for the more children you have – that’s wrong…you get paid the same if you’re married with no kids or if you’re married with 6 kids…it doesn’t go up per the number of dependents the active duty member has.)

  16. SAHM Marine (E-6) wife with four children. I do believe in budgeting, no matter what your source of income. Military families don’t neccessarily have it harder than our civilian counterparts, just different. We move roughly every 3 years, wchich makes pay fluctuate with rising or falling BAH rates. Spouses have a harder time finding a job, or getting proper state certifications because their old certifications aren’t accepted in their new state. But that’s all after the fact. We need to start from the beginning, when that young E-2 decides he wants to marry his high school sweet heart. What happened to having to get permission from the command to get married? I think that would avoid so many issues- divorce rate, “contract marriages”, and money issues. Make budgeting classes a requirement before getting married. Teach the young finace how to read an LES, where to go for assistance and what can happen to her husband if that shiny new car gets repoed. I wish someone had shown me when I was that 19yr old wife. We learned by trial and error.

  17. E4 with no children

    who is ANYONE to judge ANYONE else b/c they have a certain number of children and are at a lower rank?!??!?!?!
    do YOU know what their situation was!?!?!? were YOU there when things happened!?!??!!
    NO.
    these comments made me SO angry!!!!
    a LOT of people (me included) joined the military at a later age —
    how are you to know that someone with 3 children had a great life until their company got bought out, and they had no other choice but to join the military?
    how do you know that the family with 3 children didn’t have a person that made the SVM realize that his calling was to be a military man — LATER IN LIFE???
    you know NOTHING about this family and all the people that have made negative comments about people having too many children should be ashamed of themselves.
    judge not lest ye be judged…
    and no one knows what storms God asks any other person to walk through — so the judgmental negative comments –grow up. get a clue, and get over yourself… sorry we aren’t all perfect like you.

  18. military brat MEAL TICKET

    They get food stamps because they can. Do you think that the misogyny, hypocrisy, racism and nepotism in the US military guarantees honor amongst troops?

    These assholes are also happy to sell their children out as well.
    HINT* having meal tickets IS child abuse.

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  20. Charles Bryant

    How does a soldier get Food Stamps. I didn’t know that was posible. Does anyone know about Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance FSSA? It is $1,515.00 over and beyond your BAS which is $352.27. Now add up those numbers and ask yourself, how is it possible they are still on food stamps?????

    https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/fssa/

    • If they knew about that program I’m sure they tried the fact is you CANT GET FOOD STAMPS IF YOU MAKE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY AND IT THE GOVERNMENT TRUST ME THEY LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED! Proof proof and more proof to get any assistance! You clearly know of this very little known benefit so you can speak on it but there are those that know how degrading, humiliating and low you are made to feel if you need any help! If you do not know of what you speak shut up!

  21. There is so much stigma behind using food stamps. I sense so many people at the grocery story feels embarrass using it. I recently found a new product online, food stamp skins, which allow you to personalize your food stamps card, ebt card. Now you can protect your privacy and pay with ease! check it out and help yourself… http://www.foodstampscovers.com

  22. you all read the survey wrong.

    it doesn’t say that there’s more military families on food stamps, it says that food stamp usage at commissaries as a whole has tripled in the last couple of years. cites a Stripes article for the number. http://www.stripes.com/news/food-stamp-use-at-military-commissaries-up-sharply-in-four-years-1.160858

    same Stripes article suggests that there’s probably _less_ active duty military families on food stamps, says the increased food stamp usage is probably unemployed vets who got out before they could start pulling retirement + deactivated guard and reserve guys. in other words, that it’s just another indicator that the civilian economy sucks.

  23. I really appreciated this article, because it has long puzzled me why so many military personnel are receiving SNAP benefits.

    Basic Pay is not high in absolute terms at any grade, and it is downright low at the lower-enlisted ranks (where I started in 2000). However, soldiers* pay the single largest expense of a household (housing) with tax-free money, get another chunk of tax-free money to cover a portion of food costs, and don’t pay health insurance premiums at all (except by choice). That means that the net proceeds of Basic Pay is essentially disposable income, something that is NOT true for civilian wages and salaries, whose post-tax remains must be used to pay housing, health insurance, and all food costs as well as everything else.

    Under this reality, that soldiers QUALIFY for food stamps is essentially irrelevant: eligibility is predicated on income reported on an IRS 1040 or equivalent, and military allowances such as BAH and BAS are not included in the calculation, so military personnel at the lower enlisted ranks are necessarily deemed needy regardless of actual need.

    Now, I do understand the potential impact of PCS on spousal employment, particularly when the PCS location is overseas. Beyond doubt, the military model assumes that a spouse is going to work only for additional disposable income and that the family will take on no regular obligations beyond what can be afforded by the soldiers’ paycheck, because that is what is constant. But isn’t that reasonable? What else could really be done, when the soldier can be told to move at any time and the spouse’s only choice is to go along or stay behind?

    Military pay is stable, so everyone wants to extend credit to the soldiers. They say it’s patriotic, but it’s really good business: if a soldier doesn’t pay, his or her wages are garnished to cover the debt. Under those terms, I’d lend to all of them, regardless of their financial pictures. And we see the borrowing at work every day; how many early-20s high-school graduated with trade skills do you think are driving performance sports cars outside of the military community?

    So… thanks for this article. It’s really good to read someone calling out the core problem for what it is: Americans in general just can’t live within their means, and the steadiness of a military paycheck affords more opportunities to live beyond those means than would be true for a typical civilian family at comparable education and pay levels. That’s a big reason why military families turn to SNAP: because they can.


    * The term “soldiers” is used broadly in this article to refer to all military personnel, including sailors, marines, and airmen like me.

  24. John (USAF Vet, Marine Dad)

    Not buying the argument about how many have smart phones, cable, internet, new cars… these days civilians on public assistance (and claiming poverty) expect to have those things as well. Those amenities are no longer considered luxuries, but necessities without which you get socially stigmatized and are subject to ridicule. Base family housing on most U.S. bases (and some barracks housing for singles) includes cable and internet these days. Yeah… maybe budgeting is an issue, and I will grant that when I was in (single and with no family obligations) I was pretty much broke between paydays (those who knew how to handle money became the barrack loan sharks). Took my Marine son a while to figure out how to live within his means as well. But you can’t even be eligible for Food Stamps unless you are below a certain income level for family size. It’s a lot harder to budget when your income is poverty-level to begin with. Let’s just admit that we don’t pay the people who put their lives on the line for our freedom as much as they deserve.

    • Thank you for putting it so perfectly! They need to be to be bashing the greedy politicians not our men and women who serve honorable pay their taxes and live right. We need more people like you sir in this country. Thank you for your service and that of your sons I for one appreciate it with all of my heart!

  25. This is right most people i know and me already experienced it especially E1 when they got out of boot camp majority of them will either buy a new car or get married for extra benifits most of them is a 1st time driver who doesn’t understand leasing interest and so much more well somebody helped me to get back in the right track it took 4yrs to stabilize my budget paying bills loans now im saving money and thankful to all that help get this right so if your a e1 married and you think you have alot of money think again in the military they might have the assistance program but you will still need to pay them back

  26. Old sarge you hit it on the head! I’m a 45 year old spouse of E5 children grown out of the house before military at one point I was A single mother and had to get assistance. I am not proud of it but this article is a joke, I’m guessing the aurther is from a mil to mil family they do have it made in the military world. From experience I can tell you with absolute certainty that any assistance is based on income number of household if you have 1 or 20 dependents it makes no difference same as military it is based solely on having 1-2 dependent sand your income nothing more. Also, many people get deployed to japan and can get to Korea for knock offs as far as coach goes and with the internet you can get any designer knock off you want for dirt cheap. I’m disabled but but qualify for disability since I was a stay at home mom while I was married I and for 18 years I’ve been disabled my husband and I do not own cars with payments you do not go out anywhere! I’ve been on my own since 17 I’ve learned to manage money very well, I talk to USAA financial advisors all the time we try to brain storm to come up with a way to squeeze money out of some where to get something going for our future, we can’t do it, we both have smart phones but are grandfathered into the cheapest plan we pay less than a single person pays for today’s plans, we do have triple play tv being our only source of entertainment and we are only the lowest level, we buy maybe 2 movies a year. We do not control the cost of cable and it is cheaper to bundle from the same company. The cost of PCSing is atrocious and we only get say 1/4th reimbursed. They are no more signing bonuses or raises in January since the usurper TOOK office ( everyone enough with the bush bash learn the truth before you speak your pres slic willy is the cause of the housing crisis and many other issues that were blamed on bush enough already!) We have one credit card we have had to use and we are doing everything in our power to get that paid off so we will have no debt except the loan to pay of student loans. I eat once a day my husband does not cook so yes eating out we keep it to less than $10. A day which is much cheaper than repairing our meals. We buy no milk no sugar no bread no processed foods we buy some chai seed, flax seeds and psyllium 3-4 apples, bananas,1-2 can coconut water bag of frozen cherries, strawberries and blueberries and 2 sm bottles of naked juice for the smoothies all ingredients just listed that we drink to try to keep healthy since we have to eat the cheapest fast food and my husband buys 5 microwave meals ( for lunch) under $2 each as the to have risen in price then we buy cheapest shampoo conditioner, razors, TP, laundry detergent, soap and all we can put away for retirement is $70 a month. Gas is a big problem averaging $30-40 per week on a four cylander car never using AC. Tell me do you thing we can cut back? Oh, I don’t require girly needs since my hysterectomy 8 years ago and we don’t own a house. The SNAP the government implemented to save face to the indifferent civilians you may want to look into that a bit more before shooting your mouth off! I’ve read in depth about it and they make it as difficult to get as they can. The money Osama is spending our tax dollars has been on self interest groups, his fellow criminals and his trips, vacations, TV appearences for birth him and his hideous wife, which is not part of the job description. I. Strongly urge you to know your facts before you speak or write due diligence. For those of you who slept through or did not take government in college – until 2009 the government was designed so that the president did not have absolute power, up to 2009 congress ran the country the president was just an authoritative mediator. Shame on all of you for not doing your homework and voting based on fact as apposed to feelings and what the media told you, shame on you, your research not your blog but cars vacuums products of all sorts but never on who you elect into offices of power?
    Back to the topic of food stamps, recently a young girl died of malnutrition at Dyess AFB and the parents charged for neglect. Neither the militaries child welfare and civilian child welfare agencies who “RESPONDED” to 3 SEPERATE CALLS to the house to investigate are being charged for their part in actually allowing such a thing continue if infact neglect was actually taking place, if it was then they should be held to a higher standard because they are the supposed champions of child welfare. However, it may well be part of the truth but I can’t help but think another part could be they just didn’t have enough money for food so one of three daughters died and rather than accepting responsibility for their financial hardship it is easier for the government to place blame elsewhere, they do this all the time. Common sense should tell us that if the number of starving children in the US are accurate it should stand to reason that many of those children are in the military. New news tells us that the government intends to deny food stamps to any applicant that says they are military – active and veterans. Why I ask is it ok with tax payers to give to those who are not willing to work and not help those who not only work but put their lives on the line for us everyday? I love this country but it is increasingly difficult to respect anyone but our service men, women, veterans and those who paid the ultimate price! You should never question what we do get but what we don’t and you should definitely be worrying about our veterans benefits or rather what little benefits the government is continuously taking away from them, why don’t you write about something good and beneficial to our service men and women past and present and their immediate families? Bring awareness to John and Jane civilian demand that senators no longer get to exempt themselves from obamacare, self approved raises, pay of upwards in the 6 figures plus their illegal side activities answering to no one. Be a person for positive change, encourage people to take their country back from corrupt polatitions and corporations, BE USEFUL! Use your powers for good stop attacking the most unappreciated, underpaid, undervalued people in this country!

  27. This is deplorable. Our active and veteran military has DEFENDED THIS COUNTRY WITH THEIR LIVES! AND THEY’VE DONE IT VOLUNTARILY! So just tell me why they have to suffer AT ALL!!! We have so much putrid waste in our government and in our foreign aid, so why are we not CUTTING THE WASTE and NOT OUR MILITARY PAY AND BENEFITS!

    BO WASTES $4+ MILLION on his Hawaii vacation (just one of them); our Congress persons ABUSE taxpayer money with free everything, AND WE ALLOW OUR MILITARY TO SUFFER?

    There are no words to describe the unpardonable, inexcusable abuse of our blessed military!!!!

    SHAME ON ANYONE WHO HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH TAKING AWAY FROM OUR MILITARY WHO DEFENDS ALL OF US! SHAME ON YOU!

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